Although dementia is not my specialty, prior work in long term care settings and recent personal experience with my late mother has given me many opportunities with individuals who were in different stages of the disease.
The recent experience with my mother, afforded me options of using my iPad with her. The iPad interface was intuitive to her, easily accessed and viewed even with diminishing vision. Memory, joke or tongue twister apps, taking pictures of her and displaying current family pictures aided communication at times, showing that more could be retrieved given time and additional cues. As the disease progressed her long term memory regressed to earlier days and events. I now wish I had used a story telling app such as GrayMatter app to facilitate her recall.
Gray Matter – Reaching Beyond Dementia app (free with in-app purchases) is described as an interactive life storybook, paired with music & games. The app aids patients and families preserve past memories, as well as today’s moments. The developers believe ” that people with dementia are “still here,” as Grey Matters taps into the abilities that remain to keep individuals engaged and connected.”
The app allows you to do the following:
• Create a Personalized Life Storybook:
Customize “My Life” story pages for your loved one, filled with long-term memories from his/her life. Upload your own family photos, accompanied by simple text and voice narration to evoke memories from younger years & foster communication.
• Record & Share New Memories:
Instantly capture special moments that occur while using the app together – whether a sparked memory or a smile. Share these “I Remember” videos with family members on the spot.
• Reflect on the World:
Look through pre-loaded “My World” story pages filled with universal content that appeals to your loved one’s interests based on generation–such as entertainers, films, history & pop culture from the 1930s, 40s & 50s. Enjoy 6 free content packs – more content is available for purchase within the app.
• Create a Custom Reminder:
This audiovisual reminder, containing photos, text and voice narration, can reassure your loved one about his/her surroundings. The reminder can be tailored to questions most often asked by an individual, helping to avoid embarrassment and quell anxiety.
• Listen to Music & Play Games:
Create custom playlists from your iTunes library for your loved one to enjoy while viewing story pages. Music can be an incredibly powerful tool in drawing out long-term memories. In addition, play a game of memory cards together featuring familiar content from your loved one’s life.
• Create Multiple Profiles:
Grey Matters works very well in both a private, home setting or a larger care facility because you can upload individual profiles for each person in your care. Each user’s personalized story pages, music playlist, profile and My World content will be saved for later use.
There are many story telling apps that have recording, video, picture and text features, however this app appears specially suited for individuals with dementia.
The Huffington Post ” GrayMatter App Aims to Help People Connect to Love Ones Suffering from Dementia” provides more background information and resources on dementia that is worth reading.
Another app mentioned to support individuals with dementia is the free app Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias Daily Companion providing strategies and resources for caretakers.
More for your OT mTool Kit.